Category Archives: African Woman

Sounds of the world – Singing Birds

Others sing

The Malians make beautiful music. But then, I am not objective. My Africans roots are deep.

A friend & I had the honor to listen to Nahawa Doumbia at Fasching in Stockholm. IMG_1844[1]

She is older now. Her husband still plays beside her, to her left in the picture. And the fantastic instruments from West Africa! I could take them home just for decoration. Because I cannot play.

Has anyone listened to the Rough Guide to Mali collection?

If you haven’t, please listen & let me know what you think.

Lorde’s Melodrama is out and lawd! was it worth the wait?! I have waited. Followed Lorde on Twitter @Lorde. Followed Lorde on Instagram #Lordemusic.

Waiting. Waiting.

It is most interesting how we describe sounds. Birds sing. Birds never talk. If I ever said “I walked by the talking birds” or “I was woken by the talking birds”; someone of the loving people near me would shake their heads sympathetically. 

“no dear, birds sing. They. don’t. talk.”  slowly. so I can hear & save. So the crazies won’t take me with them.

My boss would definitely suggest that I take a short break from work to clear the cobwebs from the grey cells.

Lions roar. Fiercely. we should either (1) be afraid when a lion roars, or (2) impressed and fascinated by the lion’s roar. The sea roars when a storm is coming on.

Otherwise, the calming waves are calm, like calming music.

Hyenas scream. Or Scream.

Horses neigh. Or snort. Or whinny. Even nicker.

But do birds really sing? All of them? All of the time?P1030100

Sometimes it sounds like laughter. Other times, it sounds like a conversation. An answer to a question. Sometimes it sounds like a scream, a loud uncontrolled scream.

When I am in a good mood, and listen to birds on a nice summer day, they sound happy. Each listening to its kind, and answering to its kind.

Is it possible, that we, who love definitions & categorizations, have defined our sounds; and then allocated them to animals?

So since we like the sounds birds make, we call it singing?

P1020132No one ever says happily to their best friend during the summer “oh! I woken by the vultures/carrion singing this morning! So beautiful!!” imagine some dancing around surrounded by nice beautiful flowers like i Renoir painting.

All about birds describes black vultures:

Black Vultures are silent most of the time. They make raspy, drawn-out hissing sounds while feeding and fighting, along with grunting noises that can sound like hungry pigs or dogs barking in the distance.

Courting vultures may give a yapping sound.

Under which circumstances do we use raspy, hissing, hungry pigs, barking dogs?

That’s right folks! disapproving, scared, hating & disliking etc.

Snakes hiss. We are not just afraid of snakes; we hate them. People who make us queasy, who scare us, who we don’t recognize ourselves in; are snaky.

They hiss when they communicate with us.

Cats meow & purr when they are nice, cooperative, satisfied & calm. Not scary. Cats hiss when they are angry, scared & unhappy. Scary.

Others sing to us. Sweetly. Silently. Deeply.

Healing us.

Repeatedly.

Tuscany 2017: For the “I don’t speak Italian” Traveler

I am in the bad habit of saying “merci!”, “gracias”, “gracias muchas”, when I wan to be flippantly thankful. And si signor/signorita when I am feeling playful.

I learnt Swedish as a young adult, a process that stretched my patience, my self confidence & my intelligence to their thinnest. In my learning exhaustion, I have been very resistant to learning any new language in adulthood.

San Mignano wineryImagine my pleasure then when I decided during this Tuscany trip that I will learn Italian. Even if I just manage to learn the basics, I will learn Italian.

It is not that Italians don’t speak English, most them speak lots of good English. But, every day, we found someone who spoke very little English; like the little restaurant where we had the most wonderful quiet breakfast on our last day in Florence. The husband was totally dependent on his wife to listen to us & translate for him. It was a young-ish couple too!

Computer says No - Old Man

Foooor F#¤k’s sake!

We had booked a retreat to Diecimo Pescaglia in the Borgo a Mozano province. It is a nice hidden oas hidden in the hills just 20-30minutes from Lucca. We arrived at the Diecimo-Pescaglia train station to find an abandoned station with an empty “office”. An old man was was approaching us at snail speed. Slower than snail speed. We are glad to wait because we need to ask him if we can order a taxi or something to take us to Borgo Giusto Hotel. He eventually arrives. We say a jolly gracious Buongiorno! Buona sera! He answers back

We are so impressed with ourselves we look at each other proudly. We then remember why we have been waiting for him.

“Scusi signor, can we ask you how to get to Borgo Giusto?”

He does stop, and look at our printed booking, and reads the address.

He says “I don’t know. I don’t recognize that. I cannot help you. Bye bye.” in Italian.

We, in unison “taxi?” head shakes. finger wiggling.  “oh no. no taxis here. if you walk up the street there, you may find someone who speaks your language & can help you”. In Italian.

We turn in the direction he points & we see a man unloading his bags from the trunk of a car. I am sure one of us says “oh! another tourist! we can ask him!”. We drag our 3 bags (we are 2) towards the car but by the time we get to the car, the man has gone in to the building. We think it is a B&B. There are 2 men standing outside, one quite old, another middle aged.

Scusi, can you help us call a taxi, call the hotel, or something to get here (pointing at the print out of our booking? both poke their noses into the paper, go into a long dialog, pointing wiggling fingers, head shakes and nods. “We don’t really know, but, it must be behind the hills. Far. And there are no taxis to take.” In Italian.

We: “English?” in english

Middle aged gentle man: “Non. a little French or German.” in Italian

Me: “telefono” pointing at the telephone number to the hotel

Middle aged gentle man: The gentlemen speak among themselves a little more. heads shaking. laughter.

We are stamped. The oldest gentleman points at the younger man and says a lot. “he will drive you. That’s his car. pointing. if anyone can find it, he can.” I Italian.

Middle aged gentleman starts to take our 3 bags to the car. We are young, we help out.

snaky circling roadWe have no idea what kind of contract we have signed or how much it will cost. We need to go places and someone is willing to take us there in any language. We get into the car.

Middle aged gentleman makes a call on his mobile, speaks to a friend. In Italian.

“Montalbano! do you know where Borgo Giusto is!? two idiots I have to drive there! they seem nice, but totally lost. Can’t speak Italian either! Who doesn’t speak Italian??! Morons, that’s who. ah ja, round the bend? turn by the big oak? I know which one! oh ja, the yellow ones? they smell nice!”

For 15 minutes he speaks on the phone. We pass a small village or market. I feel happy, there are people, even here behind the big hill. He then hangs up. And keeps driving. Turns right into the bushes.

I am brought up in Africa, I am trained to depend on & trust other people’s kindness. Ubuntu. We are one, you live, I live, you die, I die. And the walls for crude oil, land & other resources continue to rage. My Swedish travel partner is brought up different. I have no idea how. He is fidgety, wondering if we really should trust this. I keep my hand on his hand. To transmit calmness and trust.

Borgo Giusto ViewAfter 25-30 minutes drive, around the bend, after the old fig tree, we see the hotel parking lot. And a view to pay for. We are here. Since we don’t know how much we agreed to pay, we give our gentleman a note. It is not too big & not too small.

“no. it was my pleasure. I am glad we found it & hat you are safe. Shall I help you with the bags?” In Italian.

Weddings.

A couple taking photos in Florence. After their wedding I suppose. It is a universal language, isn’t it? the language of declaring eternal love to another person in all sorts of ways.

I am amazed at how much we can communicate with others without words. I am so happy to find that my childhood trust in basic kindness is intact. And we are so humbled & thankful that with all the changes, someone in Italy is still concerned about the safety of young people traveling in the unknown.

This happened to us so many times, I could write a story for every day. Not always someone driving us somewhere, but someone helping us out in Italian. Gladly, kindly & memorable.

Byron Lord.

I wonder if Lord Byron learnt Italian? […] But I have lived, and have not lived in vain:   My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire,   And my frame perish even in conquering pain;   But there is that within me which shall tire   Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire;   Something unearthly, which they deem not of,   Like the remember’d tone of a mute lyre,   Shall on their soften’d spirits sink, and move In hearts all rocky now the late remorse of love.

Tips:

  1. Dont need help

    Ask for help! you will need it. We all need help sometimes.

  2. Relax! I believe if you only ever speak with people who understand you on the first try, you never really learn patience or appreciation of the simple truths.
  3. Plan some margins in travel. That way, even if you are a little delayed by language hitches, you still have time to listen in another language. It is part of the experience.
  4. If you are even a dot of the control freak that I am, you need to relinquish control & trust in basic human kindness. All is well if you find one person willing to listen & reply; even in Italian.

 

Tuscany 2017: The Pain of Finding The Beautiful Pincio Gardens

While in Rome, The city view from the Pincio gardens is worth lots of pain. Bear with me.

It is interesting how instinct works. Like love. Or hate. Or fear. You get these feels that you really don’t know where they are coming from and can absolutely not control. You consider ignoring the feels but the “inner compass” just won’t let you. If you try to ignore the feels, you start to get nervous, anxious, fidgety, itchy, neurotic, edgy and irritable. Best way to deal with this is to act on the feels and move on with it.

So, on the day we are to find the Pincio gardens, I wake up with lots of feels. Instinct tells me that a pimple is coming on. So I start the morning with touching my face. I touch the exact place where a huge zit is going to show up because instinct tells me there will be a zit on precisely this spot.

My partner in zit & acne control says that I get all these zits because I touch & scratch my face. It is a chicken-egg situation. I feel the zit coming, instinctively, I touch scratch, squeeze, peel violently, point my nail directly at it & push, use the pincette, apply aloe vera, apply sun cream, ooh too much sun screen, wipe with toner, apply more sun cream, the zit, it comes.

It can’t be any other way.

Does my touching my face cause the zit, or, does the zit cause an itch that I have to deal with before the zit pops up?

Anyways, whatever I do, by breakfast (09:00 am), a spot on my face hurts.

Life goes on!

The hatI place my wonderful hat on my head and it lies right on the zit. It, the pimple itches and hurts all at once.

La vita va avanti!

I have to walk through Rome because my find the best city views partner has a garden he wants to show me. Pincio. We have with us the book Top 10 Rome, & in it is a map. I turn the map upside down, decide which way we have to go and start walking.

If you look at the Google maps navigator below, it should take 40 minutes, tops.

Walk to Pincio!We walked the whole afternoon. From 12:15 to 16:30.

The whole freaking hot afternoon (28 Celsius).

To be on the fair side, it is a wonderful walk in the sun through the best parts of the city. Brushing by the Colosseum, St. Peters Cathedral, Spanish Steps, the shopping district etc. When we find ourselves near the Trevi Fountain, we decide to come back to the Fountain later. I have been saving my 3 cents all week for the Trevi visit.

Because we will always be back to Rome.

We took a break on the way, took a coffee at a small café near the Flaminio tram stop. Just one stop from Flaminio Tram stop. After the coffee, my legs, feet, back & pimple hurt so bad I wanted to take the tram back.

My we are better than that partner said it couldn’t be that far to walk. I did not believe him so we had a short irritated conversation while we walked.

Me “I want to take the tram!

Him “No”

Me “I am tired”

Him “.”

Me: “You don’t hear me!?”

Him “. a look.”

Me “Are you listening???!”

Him “.”

Me: “Oh, there is the Flaminio stop.”  Just look at the map, a little north west of the destination.”

Him “. Smiles at me. touches my hand.

Embarrassed silence. We turn left or is it right?. Up the stairs, definitely up the stairs,  and there lies the famous garden in all its glory. A wonderful view of the city and statues of the historic famous in one place.

Flaminio to Pincio

 

 

Tuscany 2017: A bird shat on my hat! For Luck

We have been traveling through #Tuscany for 11 days and the experience has been, wildly rewarding; to put it mildly. We have known each other for over 8 yrs and have not done anything like this; just us; finding places, getting lost, using a map (that is an entire story).

I will be sharing our Tuscany experience in the coming posts, to share information, tips and the fun we had!

Prima: I was not singing or whistling. SO i am certain I did not set this up just to be in luck. Though to be fare to the Judases, I am known to speak to birds & cats.

Suddenly, my partner in travel & all sorts of drama says jumping dramatically he is a tall handsome guy; so try to imagine the sense of drama

“oh, bird shit! bird shit!

ooooh, on your hat!

Stop, you have to take it off!

It will stink!

And you can get Salmonella from bird shit!”

I calmly ask him if he can just wipe it off? kindly. He kind of hops away from me, you know like “NEVER! that will not happen” kind of hop

I take our bottle of water from the bag I am carrying. He snatches the bottle from me. “give me that! we could get salmonella!”

“Just drop some on my napkin so I can wipe the hat?”

I am starting to loose it a little. Many years ago, I got salmonella from in-flight chicken dinner and that was not pretty. Apparently, in the throes of it, I asked the doctor to “help me send a note to my sister because I am dying”

“maybe you have to throw the hat away and buy a new one!” he says

I snatch the bottle, pour some water on a napkin, and wipe the hat. And back on the head it goes. It is freaking 30 degrees Celsius out in Rome! I would rather lie on the floor of the hotel loo for 10 hrs dealing with Salmonella that have that heat on the part of my head that covers my brain.

It took MINUTES hours? for him to believe he could come near me & my hat without catching something. I mean, I was still walking and I seemed fine, right?

I am just hoping the wiping the hat with water doesn’t ruin my luck!

Did you ever hear that when a bird drops on you, you are in luck? Droppings from the bird means bird shit. Not diamonds, or saliva, or sperm or anything that exciting. Bird shit is’all.

I imagined that there could be some science behind this myth but after scouring the net this morning, I feel assured to declare this just another of those, “Myth or Fact” things that should come on the Myth or Fact? TV-program to put us all out of our misery.

I chose the USA today story, which is in no way scientific. It serves the purpose since I am not trying to prove anything right at this moment. My intention is to warn brag & inform you that I will be becoming very rich, or loved, or happy or something really lucky. Shortly. More lucky than I have already been.

Because a bird actually shat on that beautiful hat you see on my head in the photo in which I am standing by the river Arno (Fiume Arno) in Florence (Firenze).

Shopping Blues Caused by the Met Gala

The ways we torture ourselves are numerous.

Like when you buy that chocolate bar and place it on the dining table.staring at you. Mocking you. Calling your name while you sleep. Whispering how good it tastes.

“I will not eat the whole of that in one go!” You tell yourself before you go bananas bonkers on the chocolate bar in the middle of the night when no one is watching..

Or when you watch the angels, feel guilty because you are a feminist jaa, I am totally projecting! and swear to stop objectifying women. Until next year because you are totally hooked.

So, I watched the Met gala and had all these awful wonderful exhilarating depressing feels.

Should I get a new pair of sandals? You know, like Rihanna’s?

Should I get a new gala dress? For that gala I am invited to in 2031 when I am rich & famous? As if that would ever happen to me who cannot save if life depended on it.

Should I or should I?

So I went shopping today. For whatever.

While I shopped, I wrote this in my phone: Shouldn’t shopping effing make me temporarily happy?

You were sad, deeply miserable, before I had a chance to hurt a fly,

You were angry, constantly pissed, before I had the ability to create anger,

You were rolling down the stairs, down the hill, bumping your poor head before my hands could push a barrow,

You were weeping, heartbreaking sobs, disturbing wails, before I broke any heart,

You were fragile, almost broken, before I put my hands out for a hug,

You were disconnected, totally broken, before my looking straight at you was a demand for attention, for action, for approval, for love,

You were sleepless, nagging insomnia, before I started nagging,

You were without friends, unloved, before I started looking for elsewhere love,

You were stressed off your wits, depressed, before I was more than fetus,

You were depressed, untreated & suicidal before I saw the first boy I liked,

How is it then possible, that I felt like I caused it all?

The blues.

The violence.

The anger.

The cold.

The heat.

The storms.

The loveless-mess.

The laughter.

The separations.

The abandonment.

The pain.

The love.

The laughter.

The tears.

The sleeping.

How is it then possible, that I felt like I caused it all?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Feminists Need LOVE from Men?

I had been thinking.

Pulling my hair.

Gnashing my teeth.

Scratching my back.

Picking at the pimples on my face.

Scratching my scalp bloody.

Biting my nails.

Re-counting my years.

Checking the wrinkles that may or may not be showing up.

Checking my awaited grey hairs.

Learning new things.

Getting promoted.

Investing the savings.

Thinking. Choosing. Re-choosing.

What a luxury! To have choice. All these wonderful choices.

Some mornings, I woke up sad. Some nights, I slept close to tears.

 

I can afford the rent.

I can feed myself.

I can pay my ticket and hotel room in Paris.

I can buy my own shoes.

The thought hit me.

To choose; when you have everything else and the only thing left to choose is love; you have to choose the love you cannot live without.

The silent question: “how to choose?”

Pooh answered: “You cannot go through your feminist life looking back at the things you rejected and miss & regret when you are 50, 60, 70 years old.

If you cannot say the below to the rejected, the left behind, the discarded, the not-chosen, or to yourself, and really mean it; then you cannot reject. Anything. Anyone. Ever.

  1. I do not love you. I wish you well.
  2. I love someone else. I hope someone else will love you.
  3. I am not available for you. I am prioritizing someone else.
  4. You have to celebrate one more birthday without me. And many more in the future.
  5. Someone else’s feelings and happiness mean more to me than your feelings and happiness. I hope you will be happy anyway.
  6. I will not miss you.
  7. I will not miss your voice.
  8. I will not miss your wonderful face.
  9. I will not miss your smile.
  10. I will not miss your jokes.
  11. I will not miss your body.
  12. I will not miss your body odor. In fact, I will forget it.
  13. I will not your input when I need input.
  14. I will not miss your feedback when I need feedback.
  15. I will not miss taking a walk with you in the city.
  16. I will not miss your/our friends.
  17. I will not miss your family.
  18. I will not miss watching TV with you.
  19. I will not miss spooning with you in the mornings.
  20. When I think of love, when I dream of love, when I speak of love; I will not think of you.”